To mark the International Day of Peace on 21 September 2016, students of the Honiara Baptist Church Academy in East Honiara presented pictures that depicted what peace meant to them to the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) Special Coordinator.
Their drawings and explanations were clever and insightful. Love, friendship and working with the police were common themes. Peace, they explained, meant no fighting and no killing.
The RAMSI Special Coordinator, Quinton Devlin, awarded prizes to: Nishani Maniau (1st prize), Jared Lilivar and Glen Aree for their striking drawings and powerful messages of peace. The pictures by Faby Banuk and Duncan Agita also received a special mention.
The selected drawings called for world peace, peaceful homes and the power of love overcoming the love of power. One drawing depicted RAMSI stopping the fighting in 2003 and another encouraged Solomon Islanders to be like the turtle, the peace-maker of the ocean.
“I was particularly impressed to see that the students had thought about peace in different ways and at different levels. The students wanted peace globally, between the provinces, between enemies and in the home,” Mr Devlin said.
“It is no accident that the RAMSI symbol is a peace dove carrying an olive branch over a map of Solomon Islands. RAMSI was first and foremost a peace-restoring and peace-building mission – which we achieved in partnership with successive Solomon Islands governments by restoring law and order, stabilising the country’s finances and re-setting national institutions.”
The RAMSI Special Coordinator said: “Now that peace and stability has returned to this beautiful country, RAMSI’s 14-year peace and state-building mission is nearing an end. We will be leaving in June next year confident that peace in this country is in good hands – that is, in the hands of a government, a police force and a population that desires and is working hard to protect all Solomon Islanders.”
In addition to awarding the student prizes, the RAMSI Special Coordinator thanked the Academy’s Supervisor, Ms Joseth Aree, for her support and presented the school with two volleyballs and a net.
Established by the United Nations, the International Day of Peace is observed around the world every year on 21 September to invite all of humanity to commit – above all differences – to peace.